#CancelYandy Part 1: on the invisibilization and criminalization of Indigenous peoples

Sources:

#JusticeForColten

Absolutely disgusting and heartbreaking. I’m ashamed of Canada.

Gerald Stanley was found not guilty of second-degree murder of the death of Colten Boushie, 22, from the Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan. In 2016, a group of First Nations kids were driving around the backroads in rural Saskatchewan. They got a flat tire and sought help by the neighbouring homes, which were all farms. The group went up to Gerald Stanley’s farm to get help and Colten was shot in the back of the head. Since then, the case has been a disaster.

Gerald Stanley claims it was self defence because the group entered his property, as if it were some wild west movie. He felt threatened that the group was on his property and thought the group was out to steal and cause harm to his wife and son. The group was only on his property because they needed help with their tire, they had no choice. Stanley told his son “get the gun!” and attacked the group. Boushie was asleep in the back. He got up and sat in the front. Stanley claims a: he only shot to scare them off but later, b: “it just went off”.

If you’re shooting to scare someone off, and you accidentally shoot them, you’d immediately call 911 and run over to help. And if you’re trying to scare them off you shoot elsewhere, not right at them.
Also he claims the gun “just went off”, yet he managed to walk over to the passenger side of the vehicle, aim at Colten, and shoot him in the back of the head 3 times. Right after that, Stanley and his family went inside, sat at the table, and finished their coffee as Colten laid lifeless outside.

Following the shooting, Colten’s friends have been treated as if they were the criminals. They were held in custody for 18 hours following the incident and were interrogated by the police. They were asked why they were there in the first place. They were asked how much they were drinking. They were asked what did they steal. They were asked numerous questions, despite being innocent the whole time. Colten’s family was kept in the dark as well with during the entire trial on most details. Yet Gerald Stanley was portrayed as the victim in the mainstream media. As the “poor farmer defending his family”. 

It’s systematic racism at it’s best here, with the all white jury, all white lawyers, and white judge defending this white murderer for murdering a young First Nations man. Had they been a white group of teens coming on to a Reservation, the native man would go to jail for life with no parole for shooting a white youth.

In my experience, it’s tough being First Nations and living in the racist prairies (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba). My parents have dealt with racism. My family has dealt with racism. My friends have dealt with racism. I’ve dealt with racism. I’ve gotten the glares and looks and have been called a “squaw” and a savage. I’ve heard and seen it all. It’s disheartening to see nothing change from my grandparents era to my parents era to present day - it’s all the same. Nothing’s changing, it’s only getting worse all over Canada. In the past few years alone, we have:

Tina Fontaine, who was murdered by a 50 year old caucasian man named Raymond Cormier. Tina was a 15 year old girl from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba who went missing in July 2014. On August 17, weeks later, her body was found wrapped in a plastic bag in the Red River in Winnipeg. Raymond Cormier has been charged for second-degree murder.

Barbara Kentner, who was murdered by Brayden Bushby in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Bushby, an 18-year-old caucasian man struck the 34 year-old mother with a trailer hitch. He deliberately slowed down the vehicle to throw the hitch at Barbara, yelling “I got one!” when he hit her. Kentner was hit in January and she passed away five months later after suffering from her injuries. Bushby has been charged for second-degree murder.

There were many other similar cases in the past few years alone of violence, police brutality, and murders against First Nations men, women, boys, and girls. Let’s remember Joey English. Christian Duck Chief. Loretta Suanders. Annie Pootoogook. Azraya Ackabee-Kokopenece. Bryan Black Star. All of the systematical injustices. All of the cases protecting the murderers and RCMP beatings. So let’s hope these two and all of the other cases don’t get the same results. Let’s remember Colten as the kind, gentle young man he was. He was training to become a fire fighter. His friends and family always remember him by his huge grin and contagious laugh.

If you are in the Calgary area, there is a memorial for Colten in Calgary at City Hall, Sunday February 11 at 6pm. There are numerous others all across Canada if you’d like to show your support, there are many Facebook pages with more information if you search his name.

Lastly, I have to say this: You can get away with murder in Canada. You can get murdered for just being First Nations. Something has to change. I am scared to be First Nations. I am scared to have a son or a daughter. “Canada is nice” is an absolute joke. Canada has never been nice to First Nations. Canada is only nice if you’re white.